Lots of press coverage of the claims by James Cameron (erstwhile producer of Titanic) that archaeologists have discovered the tomb of Jesus and his family. A tomb with a number of ossuaries (boxes for storing bones) were found in excavations in 1980. Six of the ossuaries were marked with the names Mary; Matthew; Jesua son of Joseph; Mary; Jofa (Joseph, Jesus' brother); and Judah son of Jesua. This, Cameron and his cohorts claim is clear evidence that this was Jesus’ tomb. Not surprisingly, the press released are being issued in advance of a forthcoming documentary on the topic directed by Cameron.
This is not the first time that a claim has been made linking an ossuary to Jesus. Several years ago a stone box bearing the name of James, brother of Jesus was found. In this case it was soon proved to be a forgery However, the press excitement at the time was just as great.
This is a potent reminder of the great popular interest in biblical archaeology (particularly in the States). There are still many people who look to archaeology to prove or disprove what is found in the bible.
In this case however most people’s critical faculties do seem to have remained intact (including in the media). Many people have pointed out how incredibly common the names found on the boxes were in 1st century AD Jerusalem.
The Alterity of the Past
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